Michael Williams, Krieger-Eisenhower Professor and chair of the Philosophy Department in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at The Johns Hopkins University, is among the 203 fellows elected to the 227th class of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The academy made its announcement April 30.
Williams focuses on epistemology — the theory of knowledge — and on philosophy of language and the history of modern philosophy. He is currently at work on his fourth book, "Curious Researches: Reflections on Skepticism Ancient and Modern." He joined Johns Hopkins in 2000 from Northwestern and previously taught at Yale and the University of Maryland. Williams received his bachelor's degree from Oxford and his doctorate from Princeton. He becomes one of 39 Johns Hopkins fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
"I was traveling in Europe when the academy announced its new fellows and had no idea that I had been elected," Williams said. "It was a wonderful surprise to come back to."
"Professor Williams is one of the leading epistemologists of the age," said Adam Falk, dean of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. "In his rich, imaginative and wide-ranging work, he has explicated and defended the continuing interest of fundamental skeptical challenges to human knowledge, while developing his own distinctive diagnosis of how and why those challenges ultimately fail. He has carved out positions on these questions that are shaping the terms of inquiry and debate in epistemology today."
The academy's new class was nominated and elected by current members. A mix of scholars and practitioners from mathematics, physics, biological sciences, social sciences, humanities and the arts, public affairs and business allows the academy to conduct a wide range of interdisciplinary studies and public policy research. Williams will be inducted Oct. 6 in Cambridge, Mass., with other new fellows including former Vice President Al Gore; former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor; and New York mayor, businessman and Johns Hopkins alumnus Michael Bloomberg.
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